What is Dialectical Behavioral Therapy?

Are you considering counseling? Whether you’re looking for help in your marriage, everyday life, or a counselor for a loved one, there are many types of therapy you could benefit from. One prominent method is called Dialectical Behavioral Therapy or DBT. 

Emotions can be exhausting for many people, and they can be challenging to manage. One moment you’re happy, and then the next you’re so stressed out you can’t think straight. Sometimes people deal with these emotions in ways that make it worse, such as with alcohol, drugs, or even self-harm.

If any of this sounds familiar, DBT may help. Today, we will discuss DBT in more detail and take a closer look at what benefits it offers.

DBT Defined: What is Dialectical Behavioral Therapy? 

DBT is a modified type of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). The therapy focuses on teaching people how to live in the moment, gain healthy ways to cope with stress, regulate their emotions, and improve their relationships.

DBT was created originally to treat borderline personality disorder (BPD), but mental health professionals have learned it can help treat a variety of other conditions. DBT can benefit people who struggle with emotional regulation or self-destructive behaviors and sometimes is used to treat trauma. 

The Reasons People Get DBT Therapy

DBT can benefit anyone, but it is most often recommended for those with particular emotional and trauma symptoms. These include:

  • Relationship Problems
  • Substance abuse
  • Self-harm/cutting
  • Eating disorders
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Trauma or PTSD
  • Severe or ongoing depression

How Can DBT Help You if You Were Recently Diagnosed with a Mental Illness?

DBT can help you pursue a life where you feel confident. This therapy can help you better build  positive relationships and help you feel respected, happy, and valued. It can help you learn to ask for what you need, set the proper boundaries, and regulate your emotions. 

You can learn to do this by gaining a large “toolbox” of skills to help you deal with those emotions. 

Your DBT therapist will help you pursue all of these things. It may not seem like it right now, but things can get better if you do the work. You don’t have to do it alone. 

People occasionally have had negative therapy experiences in the past. Sometimes might just not be the right fit for you and your needs. But the right therapist understands the value of a therapeutic relationship, and can help you attain the tools to build better coping skills and address your difficulties in a mindful and tolerant manner. 

In DBT, your therapist will take the time to get to know you initially and work towards forming a solid relationship. They will encourage you to talk openly about your problems, and they won’t judge you. 

The Core of DBT Skills Training in Therapy

Dialectical behavior therapy has many aspects, but its core concept is that you want to solve your problems and need better tools to get there. Our therapists can help you learn the skill set to get to where you want to be. 

Your therapist won’t just teach you new skills, but they will continue to teach you how to use them in your everyday life. You won’t just hear about them once but at almost every session. You will likely be given homework in between appointments. Then, at the following appointment, you’ll discuss the homework and work on solving any problems involved.

The Four Techniques of DBT

DBT includes four different types of skill sets. The set you use works to help you cope with the different parts of your life and ultimately improve your overall quality of life. These strategies include the following:

1. Mindfulness

Mindfulness is about living in the present moment. Your therapist will help you focus on what you need at the moment. People often start DBT going back and forth between reacting and ignoring their emotions to focus entirely on how they think they should respond to a situation. 

Mindfulness teaches you to balance listening to your feelings with facts and reason to find the wiser part of yourself. 

2.  Interpersonal Effectiveness Skills

Interpersonal effectiveness skills largely translate to healthy relationship skills. They are intended to open your eyes to a different way to look at your relationships, along with how you connect with people. 

You will learn ways to say “no” effectively, ask for exactly what you need from someone, maintain your self-respect inside of relationships, and nurture your relationships. 

3. Emotional Regulation Skills

Emotional regulation is about helping you regulate or cope with your emotions. Therapy starts with aiding you in identifying and naming your emotions. Then, your therapist works with you to balance your emotions so you don’t feel so overwhelmed and better learn how to navigate your feelings in a healthy manner. 

4. Distress Tolerance Skills

Distress tolerance is about getting through hard times without acting impulsively, completely shutting down, or making the situation worse. Your skillset will include ways to deal with minor difficulties, moderate issues, or a real crisis. 

Therapy That Is Tailored To You

There has never been a time where treatment has been more accessible. Thankfully, there are several resources to seek counseling and mental health treatment to help you and others cope during these difficult times. 

Lisa Rogers Counseling offers many services, including adult therapy for individuals, single couples, and married couples. 

Contact Lisa Rogers Counseling to schedule an appointment today. 

Since 1993, I have been providing a combination of all my years of training tailoring specific treatments based on the individual needs and challenges of my patients, facilitating healing. I make every effort to accommodate the busy schedules of my patients by offering evenings, weekend appointments and Telemental Health (Online Counseling-Virtual/Video Conference and Phone Sessions) offered in the following states I am licensed in: New York, California, Illinois, Texas, New Jersey, Florida, and Vermont.